The US Air Force (USAF) has awarded a firm-fixed-price, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract to Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) and Embraer to deliver the Light Air Support (LAS) aircraft as part of its partner-building efforts in Afghanistan and other nations.

Under the $355m contract, 20 A-29 Super Tucano aircraft will be delivered to USAF along with pilot training and support for all maintenance and supply requirements for the aircraft, as well as other related support equipment.

The aircraft, including ground training devices (GTD) such as simulators and planning stations, will be provided by Embraer, while in-field logistic support, pilot and maintenance training will be provided by SNC.

The A-29 Super Tucano, designed for counterinsurgency missions, will be used by the USAF to conduct advanced flight training, aerial reconnaissance and light air support operations.

The Tucano aircraft, powered by a PT6A-68A turboprop engine, is equipped with conventional and laser-guided bombs, air-to-air missiles, electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensors and secure radios with datalink communications.

The aircraft, capable of operating in extremely rugged terrain and austere conditions, features intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities and provides a range of munitions configurations including precision-guided munitions.

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The LAS programme aims to provide a low-cost, non-developmental solution for the warfighter to help meet their requirements in a counterinsurgency environment.

Work will be carried out at the companies’ facilities in Jacksonville, Florida, US, with parts and services supplied by 70 US-based companies.

More than 150 A-29 Super Tucanos are currently in use worldwide and have logged over 130,000 flight hours, including 18,000 combat hours.